Friends of the Library of Congress invites you to: Inside the Vault: A Curator's Look at the Schoner Sammelband
It is a National Treasure and one of the most important collections of maps of the earth and of the heavens to survive from the Renaissance—and one of the most mysterious.
Put together by the astronomer and mathematician Johannes Schoner around 1517, it contained the only surviving copy of Martin Waldseemuller’s 1507 World Map. Bound into a large wooden covered book with metal clasps, it was the first map to represent the Pacific Ocean, years before its supposed discovery by European explorers in 1513. Known popularly as the ‘birth certificate of America’, it is also the earliest to place the name America on any map. It is a map whose origin’s and sources have perplexed researchers for more than a century.
The book, now known as the Schoner Sammelband, also contained Waldseemuller’s other cartographic masterpiece the Carta Marina, along with a set of strange vellum fragments of unknown globes, and the first printed star chart of the Southern Hemisphere by the famous German artist and printmaker Albrecht Durer.
Rediscovered in a small tower library of the Wolfegg Castle in Germany in 1901, the map and Sammelband remained hidden on its shelves for more than 300 years. The complete collection now owned by the Library of Congress has never been displayed together or shown in public as a group, until now.
Featuring Schoner biographer and Library of Congress curator John Hessler, this program will take participants inside the Library of Congress’ vaults and reveal what we know about these illusive maps, and also discuss some of the questions that researchers are still asking about a collection whose many mysteries have yet to be solved.